Put in my place

Today I was proven wrong…a lot.

First, Knotrune sent over some really good links to discussions about self-published authors. After I’d spent all this time downplaying the whole self-publishing thing, she’s put together some good counter-argument articles.

On this same topic, an article in the Guardian also shut down my theory that self-published authors won’t sell. This guy, Kerry Wilkinson, not only had never written a novel before his first manuscript, but he just willy-nilly uploaded it to Kindle AND made a fortune off of it. (Although, in my favour, do read the article. He wrote the novel for the fun of it — not to make a fortune — and he wrote it based on what he likes to read. Plus, he wasn’t thinking, ‘No this is my novel, no one understands me, I’ll publish it and show the world who’s the master of literature.’ Nope, he wrote the novel based on what readers would want to read. A simple concept, but one not always followed. So in this case, he kind of proves my point.)

Then bloddy R pointed out that I’m a massive hypocrit.

I should probably provide you with a bit of backstory regarding my hypocrisy. I won’t go into too much detail, because that in itself is an entire blog. But in a confessional tone, I should point out why I have no reason to be mad at Pete for relying on me financially for a short time.

I left Pete in Australia (after an extended jaunt to New Zealand) in August and took a flight to Los Angeles, but unfortunately I didn’t know a soul in California.

My original plan was to meet R and M out in LA, then roadtrip it to New Orleans. But things changed when 1) by the time I made it to California, R was back in classes, 2) M had long since left the US 3) I’d run out of money.

You’re probably wondering why I didn’t just go back to the UK from Australia? The reason is because I was on a round-the-world ticket. Originally, I had planned stops that went around the world from April to July. But because the job got pushed back and because I was having such a good time, I decided to extend my stay. I had the option to rearrange my flights for later dates, but each time I did this it cost me. By the time August came around, I had a flight booked for LA and then the UK in November, and I didn’t have the cash to change the tickets again.

I had two options: 1) go to the US and stay there until my scheduled flight to the UK 2) pay for a flight back to the UK from Australia. Since I was totally low on funds I picked option number one.

Luckily, my good pal R, who is living in New Orleans, paid for me to fly out from LA when I got there, and then subsequently live with him for a couple of months in New Orleans. Not only did this save my bacon financially, but I really wanted to spend time in the US. It had been my plan all along.

I kept a handwritten diary of my entire gap summer, and one day when I’ve got nothing else to do (ie when I’m jobless or retired) I want to transfer it to the blog. But for now, you’ll have to get the factual uninteresting version.

Essentially, living with Rich was a blast. I hooked up with a few of my bloggy followers in the area (hey Em!), and I met loads and loads of other people (hey T-Beau, hey Jay, hey Frances). New Orleans must be one of the friendliest places on earth. Everyone was so kind, and everyone was so interested in England and Glasgow — to the point of it actually being annoying at times. More than once I’d be chatting with someone, and a stranger would lean over, interpupt my conversation, and ask if I was English. Then when I said ‘yes’, they’d want to have a twenty-minute conversation about it. Kind of too friendly at times. Anyway, people fed me, provided me with (loads) of booze, people offered to let me crash on their sofa, and someone even offered to let me borrow their car. I don’t even have a driver’s license (not in the UK or the US), and they said it didn’t matter.

Being there sincerely changed my life. I’m a little less skeptical than I used to be. (Although, I know my mates would disagree with this as they always say I’m the most trusting gullable person they know. But anyway, I MNM made me more hardened and while the US made me more trusting. So, I guess they balance out and I’m not that different. Anyway…)

When I first got there, I was quite worried about not having any money, so a friend of Rich’s owned a bar/restaurant type thing, and he said I could work their for tips only. Quite illegal, but who was going to notice.

Well, this worked great for about a month, and it’s where I met a lot of my New Orleans friends. Plus, I made great tips — everyone loved my hideous accent. (They think I sound like Renee Zellweger in Bridget Jones. I most certainly don’t. For all you Americans out there, the accent Renee is putting on is quite posh. My accent is much less rounded than that. It’s taken moving to Scotland to stop saying ‘Idn’t it’ and ‘Yallright.’)

Unfortunately, Americans are a curious bunch and a few of the regular customers started asking me general questions like ‘How long are you in the US for?’ and ‘What did you do in the UK?’ (They were also gobsmacked that I could take time off and travel for a few months. Evidently they don’t do that there. Not even after Uni or anything. You just work. That’s it. I’ve never met people that worked so hard AND played so hard. Anyway, digressing again…)

So, some of the regulars started asking me about my visa status, and at the time the whole illegal immagrant issue was a big politcal thing. I was never sure what to say, and I had a hard time lying, because if I said I had a visa, they’d just ask me more questions. Eventually, the guy who owned the bar started getting nervous and said that I couldn’t work there anymore. He couldn’t risk getting shut down by immigration.

I’d raised enough money at this point so that I wouldn’t be completely reliant on others, but without these lovely New Orleans people (which I now consider Rich to be one of) I don’t know what I would have done.

So, you can see how I’ve been put in my place. I can’t get angry with Pete for relying on me for a little while. He’s just doing what he needs to do, and he’s doing it for our relationship. I’m sure he could go back to Canada, but he’s trying to sort things out so we can be together.

Oh, and the last way I was put in my place today? Pete went out and got a job. He’s working at a coffee shop and he starts this weekend. He and PoshPhD are out picking up a celebratory Indian takeaway. Looks like I paniced about Pete’s job situation for nothing. That’s right I’m a panicking hypocrit, but at least I can admit it.

6 responses to “Put in my place

  1. You’re certainly the most gullable person I know. Even after your hardened experiences in the United States. 😉

  2. emofalltrades

    It was fun spending time with you in Nola, Chelle. Anyway, I’m glad Rich put you in your place AND I’m glad Pete got a job (because that’s the difference, as far as I can tell – Rich and all of us *knew* you were strapped, whereas Pete didn’t say). Even if we Americans don’t have gap summers, I can’t wait to come visit you in Scotland and bum off of you for a while. lol 🙂

    • I would absolutely love it if you came out to see me! That would be so wonderfully amazing. Start planning it. I’ll kick Pete off the Bedtress, and you can have his place. But not in a spooning way.

  3. You might get more furniture by the time I can visit. Maybe a couch? 😉

    • I’ve kind of gotten used to lying about on the floor, but if you planned to come over I’d sort out my furniture. In fact, that’s going to be Pete’s new job. Find me Freecycle furniture.

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